Here in Bristol, Cllr Gollop is one person who has taken a public stance, denouncing the Cycling City program for spending money, not increasing the number of cyclists they promised, and for taking away road space from us, the important people.:
"The Cycling City initiative brought in match-funding which has delivered new cycling routes but these have largely been achieved at the expense of the majority of road users - by reducing road space or capacity.
This is why Cllr -soon to be Mayor- Gollop is in the lead for the 2010 Bristol Traffic "councillor of the year" award. He's our kind of councillor.
Some of the cycling troublemakers have been asking "where are all the bits of road that Cllr Glossop said had been taken away for bicycles". That's tough -we had to nip out and get one of those cycle bristol maps and do some research.
- Bike lanes? Same as ever: short stay parking.
- Keep clear zones at school? Same as ever, though some yellow lines are going in -lines we can't blame on the bicycles.
- The Kingsdown RPZ? The locals voted it for it so they'd have the opportunity to park after going for a drive. Selfish actions by inner city troublemakers, but not cycling-city work.
- Bike Parking? Yes, this has taken space away, something to cover later.
- 20 mph zones? A topic for another day.
It seems to us, the things that have got worse over the cycling city timescale then are
- The removal of paveparking opportunities
- The 20 mph zone
- The increased cost of driving
- The showcase bus routes.
What then was Cllr Glossop trying to say -what did he really mean? He meant this
To us, the important people of the city, the Cycling City program is a failure because the number of people on bicycles and hence in our way has increased.This is of course the Daily Mail commenter line, but everyone is afraid to come out and say it. Not us, not John Cassidy -and not a lot of Evening Post commenters, but they don't make the proper economic argument. We shall.
It doesn't matter that no direct road space has been taken away in the inner city apart from eight paid parking spaces --the mere presence of bicycles slows us down. The fact that these people pay nothing while the cost of driving continually increases makes us even more angry.
Every bicycle holds up traffic, so while the private costs of a bicycle are low, the external cost is high. A bicycle occupying a whole lane takes up as much space as a car -and because it's going at half the speed, it slows down the cars behind it more than a single car would. The congestion cost of a bicycle is therefore higher than that of a motor car!
That's the real issue with the Cycling City. Not the infrastructure, not just the parking -taking away our pavements. It's the increase in bicycles on what the cycle planners call the key cycle routes to the city, but for which we have a different name: the main roads.
We've been saying this since 2008. Us, on our own, sometimes with help a couple of times a week from the niche papers the Evening Post and the Daily Mail. The BBC, they're on our side with Top Gear, but that's relegated to BBC2 now, and in their news broadcasts they don't often have people that speak our language. Even the AA, the RAC and the Association of British Drivers don't come out and spell out the real costs that cycling imposes on our city. As far as politics goes, we have Glossop and the Ministers Hammond and Pickles on our side -but the only party that wants to ban bicycles from important roads was the UK Independence Party. Nobody else speaks our language.
This is changing. Welcome to the bikelash.
[For anyone wishing to congratulate the councillor, his contact details are online. Why not email him and congratulate him for being on our side!]